So let me get this straight… the Liberals propose a favorable change to the current RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) rules that passes and the Conservatives turn around and want to squash the bill because it represents an irresponsible tax cut for the wealthy.

Mr. Flaherty defended the government’s approach as adequate and affordable. He said he was unconcerned about a backlash from voting parents excited by the prospect of a new tax break because only wealthier families would benefit from Mr. McTeague’s proposal.

“If you’re rich, it’ll be a popular plan,” Mr. Flaherty said.

Perhaps the backlash will not come from voting parents but from conservatives/libertarians that cringe when politicians use socialist talking points. No Comrade Flaherty, we shall never allow those nasty bourgeoisie take more money from the proletariat.

First those nasty retirees getting filthy rich off of income trusts were knocked down a notch or two now its time to go after parents trying to save for their kids education. Privileged SOBs… you go get’em Jim.

In response to an audience question during Mix 2008, Steve Ballmer downplayed Apple’s aspirations for the iPhone in the enterprise.

We’ve licensed ActiveSync for a while. That’s been an option that’s been available to Apple. It was certainly an option we knew Apple might take advantage of.

The Microsoft Exchange Protocol License is the key to Apple’s announcement and is a major enterprise coup for Apple. There is no way that Apple could have made any kind of headway in the enterprise space without it. This will hurt microsoft’s enterprise business as much, if not more, than RIM’s. Microsoft Exchange push e-mail/calendar is the only viable competitor to the Blackberry Enterprise Server (an adapter/plug-in for Exchange, Lotus Notes, and Groupwise).

The iPhone is a very different device than the Blackberry. With its thumb keyboard the Blackberry is the device of choice for writing e-mail. The iPhone, with its built-in WiFi and very functional mobile browser makes an ideal platform for any kind of enterprise application that does not require a great deal of free form text entry.

I’m not sure I.T. will embrace the iPhone but I don’t think this is required for it to be successful in the enterprise. The iPhone will be brought into the enterprise by employees who have purchased the device themselves. WiFi access is an effortless first step. Access to existing enterprise web applications is the next step. Exchange push is a natural third step, especially if Microsoft Windows Mobile devices are already supported.

I love stories like these… strategic decisions that have unintended consequences that reach far beyond the original scope. Microsoft has enabled a new competitor in the mobile enterprise space when their only intent was to knock RIM down a notch or two.

Well well. I might be smarter than I look.

This is another post about the long running Hobbit vs. Pygmy debate. The debate is about the hominid skeletal remains found on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003. Some say it is a Hobbit (new species Homo floresiensis) and others say it is a Pygmy Homo sapien. In my original post I put my money on the species being a Pygmy H. Sapien (a very small version of our species).

In my next post I backtracked after new evidence seemed to be pointing at a Pygmy H. erectus.

Well, a new theory claims that the Hobbit is H. sapien suffering from severe iodine deficiency.

…comparisons of the fossils with modern bones suggested that they were actually human, with their small stature and distinctive features the result of a condition related to severe iodine deficiency.

According to this theory, the Flores Hobbit is a human suffering from cretinism. Score another one for Occam’s razor (for now).

Intel Atom

March 4, 2008

atom_rgb_78.gifIntel announced the Atom, a milliwatt x86 CPU that was mentioned here just about a year ago.

These new chips, previously codenamed Silverthorne and Diamondville, will be manufactured on Intel’s industry-leading 45nm process with hi-k metal gate technology. The chips have a thermal design power (TDP) specification in 0.6-2.5 watt range and scale to 1.8GHz speeds depending on customer need. By comparison, today’s mainstream mobile Core 2 Duo processors have a TDP in the 35-watt range.

I find it interesting that the press release does not even mention the word “phone”. I’m guessing this means that the new Atom chips are not low powered enough for smart phones like the iPhone.

Regardless, it looks like we are reaching an important milestone… the x86 architecture applied to the mobile and embedded space on a large scale.

Marc Andreessen writes that he is impressed by Obama.

We asked him directly, how concerned should we be that you haven’t had meaningful experience as an executive — as a manager and leader of people?

He said, watch how I run my campaign — you’ll see my leadership skills in action.

As a Canadian my opinion is without consequence. The other day I listened to a CBC Radio “Search Engine” Podcast (a “best-of” re-run actually) which included an old piece about Obama and his campaign. The story was about Joe Anthony and how the Obama campaign treated him over his Obama MySpace page which had 160,000 friends.

I thought the story pointed out a fundamental issue with Obama (or maybe his supporters). The Joe Anthony story demonstrates a disdain for entrepreneurs and individuals that accomplish things outside of official channels.

Obama certainly has a gift. The man is a joy to listen to. Either he or is speech writers have true talent when it comes to the material. The upbeat message is a wonderful change. But the man had an opportunity to take charge and correct a silly mistake made by his campaign managers and he failed. Obama talked to Joe Anthony and did not use the opportunity to make things right.

The Obama campaign appears to be firing on all cylinders but its unclear to me whether any of it is due to great leadership or just a powerful popular movement. The Joe Anthony story is one small anecdote but an important one in my mind. Is there anything behind the gifted inspirational speaker? He delivers “I Have a Dream” speeches that move people to tears but is there a “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that outlines the structure underlying the dream?

According to PopPhoto’s First Look at the Sigma DP1, what seems to be the first version of a UnicornCam has a APS-size image sensor and a 28mm f/4 prime lens.

Since it was first announced a year and a half ago, Sigma’s DP1 (street: $799) has been creating buzz. Yes, that’s the same base Foveon X3 chip as its DSLR brother, the SD14, taking up a whopping .5 x .8 square inch of real estate in this compact camera. But the DP1 has all new microlenses, a new Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine (“TRUE”) processing, a specially designed 28mm f/4 equivalent lens

28mm f/4 doesn’t really turn my crank.  The article includes some test shots. The images are not exactly low-noise, but it will be interesting to see how the camera compares to low-end DSLRs in the noise department.

As I discussed in Imponderable Decisive Moment Compact Camera Challenges, the UnicornCam will always represent a compromise.  The compromise in the Sigma DP1 UnicornCam is the lens. 28mm is wide but not quite wide enough for interesting shots. Its a bit too wide for street photography. f/4 has way too much depth of field for decent portrait shots. Great for crowd shots. Protest march anyone?